Our pro-life community has been praying for Fr. Tony for many months now, since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last Lent. This past Tuesday there was a holy hour at St. Therese Church in Munhall for him and the church was PACKED with hundreds of people who were praying for his healing. It was very moving to see how many people have been touched by this humble and courageous priest, who has been a warrior in this battle for life. Unfortunately, Fr. Tony was not able to be there because he suddenly took a turn for the worse on Monday. Up till then he had remained in active ministry, even posting a daily homily on his YouTube page. I will link his homily from this past Sunday HERE. And the final homily that he posted this past Monday (sound only, no video) is linked HERE.
I received an update this morning that Father is suffering so greatly today that he does not think he will make it till Monday, and is asking for prayers to be received into the arms of Jesus and Mary right now, and he is asking specifically for the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to be prayed for both he AND his mother, who is with him. His mom’s name is Dee, and I am imagining this must be so difficult for her to see her son suffering like this. I am thinking of our dear Mother at the foot of the cross. Please offer your prayers and whatever suffering Our Lord sends you today, for them.
Father Tony is a pro-life hero to all of us in Pittsburgh. He refused chemotherapy, which could have prolonged his life, because he learned that the chemo medicine is made using aborted fetal research. Oh, that we could all be as brave and courageous as Fr. Tony! He is an example and a role model for us all to look to. Just as St. Gianna Molla was canonized and is a patron of the pro-life cause because she refused chemo, (which would have killed her unborn baby), and instead, sacrificed her own life so that her child could live…Father Tony stands as an example of true faith and conviction in Jesus Christ…especially in these times and in this city of Pittsburgh, which is known to be the HUB of fetal research at Pitt! We are blessed to look to his example to strengthen our own courage when faced with temptations to avoid suffering when it goes against our convictions. I want to post Father’s reply to an email I sent him last March, expressing my sorrow at his diagnosis. His reply was this:
Thank you so much. I am honored to have this disease because I am entering most deeply into our Savior’s passion. HE is with me as HE is with you. Prayers for you and thank you for the prayers for me. fr tony
Finally, here is a prayer to the Saints whose relics are enshrined in St. Anthony Chapel (where Ft. Tony was pastor for a while). Fr. Orr wrote the prayer. You may want to use this in your prayers for Fr. Tony: